Tag: caught the eye

Caught the Eye: NAB League – Preliminary Finals

THE Eastern Ranges and Oakleigh Chargers won through to the 2019 NAB League grand final on Saturday after impressive wins at Princes Park. In this week’s edition of Caught the Eye, we highlight two key performers from all four sides who garnered combine invites or are prominent bottom-agers. For extended profiles on each player, click on their names highlighted in red, and for our full scouting notes, click here.

Oakleigh Chargers vs. Sandringham Dragons

Nick Bryan
Oakleigh Chargers | Ruck
22/10/2001 | 202cm | 87kg

Stats: 15 disposals (11 kicks), 5 marks, 2 tackles, 21 hitouts

Our scouts said:Bryan had one of his better games for the year… His hitout work again was great, often giving his midfielders first use.” – Ed Pascoe

Verdict: Was touted earlier in the year as having the potential to rise as the number one tall in this year’s crop. While that has not quite eventuated for Bryan, he again showed on the weekend a glimpse of his high upside and impressive athleticism for a ruck. It was his best game in terms of disposal output (15) and his ruck craft is already sound, so he should have no trouble finding a home come draft time given his future scope.

Kaden Schreiber
Oakleigh Chargers | Wing/Defender
21/09/2001 | 186cm | 79kg

Stats: 24 disposals, 8 marks, 3 tackles, 2 inside 50s, 2 rebound 50s

Our scouts said:Schreiber enhanced his draft stocks with an eye catching display on the wing, winning plenty of the ball and showcasing his ability to hit targets with his trusty left foot.” – Ed Pascoe

Verdict: One who was a slight surprise to some as a state combine invitee, Schreiber has taken strides towards alleviating any doubts around his talent over the last few weeks. His game on the weekend was one of his best for the year, flying well for intercept marks and using the ball well by foot. He has good traits as a solid two-way mover and is a decent size, making him desirable as it is, and he just always seemed likely in possession against Sandringham.

Miles Bergman
Sandringham Dragons | Forward
18/10/2001 | 188cm | 77kg

Stats: 14 disposals (10 kicks), 5 marks, 5 tackles, 6 inside 50s, 1 goal

Our scouts said:This guy is a really exciting talent… the eye catching AFL attributes continued to emerge as the day went on… You can add courage to his list of qualities too, as he threw himself with the flight of the ball to impact an aerial contest late in the day, despite his side being done and dusted.” – Craig Byrnes

Verdict: Bergman just keeps on impressing and left a timely reminder of his talent for recruiters in his final Under 18 game. He may not always be the best player afield across the whole game or impress on the stat sheet, but Bergman is so often a match-winner. His overhead marking is top notch and he continues to find the goals with his booming kick, putting him right in the first round mix come draft night. Do not be surprised to see a keen side snap him up with a pick among the first dozen.

Louis Butler
Sandringham Dragons | Defender
26/08/2001 | 183cm | 74kg

Stats: 19 disposals, 4 marks, 3 tackles, 1 inside 50, 1 rebound 50

Our scouts said:His ball use was much better, picking out safe options in the corridor and down the line. He spent more time in the midfield as time went on, winning a couple of excellent ground balls in the final term.” – Craig Byrnes

Verdict: The impressive thing about Butler’s game here was his ability to bounce back from a couple of disappointing moments both with and without the ball. His strengths are obvious and useful in any side, able to impact a raft of contests and break the lines out of defence, often finishing with a smart kick. Rebounding half-backs are commonplace, but Butler’s competitiveness and scope to move into the midfield help as points of difference for the national combine invitee.

Eastern Ranges vs. Gippsland Power

Lachlan Stapleton
Eastern Ranges | Midfielder
14/04/2001 | 177cm | 72kg

Stats: 22 disposals, 6 marks, 8 tackles, 4 inside 50s, 2 rebound 50s

Our scouts said:It was another typical game from Stapleton, showcasing his hard edge at the contest in winning the contested ball and tackling hard to once again be an important cog in the Eastern Ranges midfield.” – Ed Pascoe

Verdict: Stapleton’s form has been impossible to ignore, consistently finding the ball and being able to compete against bigger top-end midfielders. The ultimate test for him will come against the likes of Noah Anderson and Matt Rowell in the grand final, but you would back in the ferocious ball winner to hold his own once again. His two-way work rate, reliability, and handling of the big moments all bode well for some attention come draft time.

Wil Parker
Eastern Ranges | Defender
29/05/2002 | 180cm | 76kg

Stats: 23 disposals (16 kicks), 6 marks, 4 tackles, 1 inside 50, 8 rebound 50s

Our scouts said:The young defender Parker was cool, calm and collected with his ball use a real feature coming out of defence. Often tasked with the kickouts, his ability to sum up his options and hit a target was superb.” – Ed Pascoe

Verdict: Parker has been a consistent feature in the Ranges back six, able to accumulate high numbers and relieve his defence of any pressure. His kicking is the most obvious strength at this point, with the bottom-ager finding targets at will and taking on the responsibility of being a designated Eastern kicker from the back half. Looks a promising type, but will need to put together games like his one on the weekend more consistently.

Ryan Sparkes
Gippsland Power | Wing
13/04/2001 | 184cm | 78kg

Stats: 26 disposals (18 kicks), 10 marks, 3 tackles, 5 inside 50s, 5 rebound 50s

Our scouts said:Sparkes has had some great games throughout 2019, but I feel Saturday’s effort was one of his best for the season. Starting on the wing, he ran hard up and down the ground to provide a target or impact any contest he could.” – Craig Byrnes

Verdict: As has been somewhat of a theme, Sparkes saved one of his better games for the year for his side’s most important outing. His match-up against Eastern’s Connor Downie was touted as an important one coming into the clash, and the outside mover did not disappoint with his breaking of the lines in the highly contested game. It will be touch and go in terms of his draft hopes, but he is one who can impress at the combines.

Harrison Pepper
Gippsland Power | Defender
9/08/2001 | 180cm | 83kg

Stats: 23 disposals (16 kicks), 6 marks, 1 tackle, 3 inside 50s, 5 rebound 50s, 1 goal

Our scouts said:Another outstanding final by the thick set defender, who has come to life and given recruiters (particularly Hawthorn) a bit to ponder over the coming months.” – Craig Byrnes

Verdict: Pepper is the kind of player coaches and teammates love to have, and he once again stepped up at crunch time. His combativeness worked well in defence in this game, cutting off a wealth of Eastern entires and pushing the ball out of danger with his bustling runs. His versatility as a medium-small is something clubs will like, but Hawthorn is set to have the final say as he is tied to them as an NGA product.

Caught the Eye: NAB League Boys – Semi-finals

SANDRINGHAM and Gippsland won through to preliminary final week with comfortable wins in trying conditions at Princes Park on Saturday. With only the best of the best left, it was difficult to pick out this week’s Caught the Eye candidates, and we have gone for some less-heralded prospects. Each showed signs of why they earned combine invites, and you can find their extended profiles by clicking on their names highlighted in red. For full scouting notes on each player and more, click here.

Sandringham Dragons vs. Calder Cannons

Hugo Ralphsmith
Sandringham Dragons | Forward/Wing
9/11/2001 | 187cm | 77kg

Stats: 19 disposals (12 kicks), 8 marks, 1 inside 50, 3 goals, 3 behinds

Our scouts said:Ralphsmith was the player to take the game away from Calder early… unstoppable both in the air and at ground level, taking some strong marks in the pack and on the lead and also swooping on the loose ball.” – Ed Pascoe

Verdict: Is a real game changer with his athletic base and skills around goal, proving as much in this game. His speed inside 50 made him a menace close to the big sticks, getting to a raft of contests and using his best instincts to snatch two of his goals from close range. Could have had an even bigger game if he had taken a couple of later chances and if teammates had turned around sooner, but reminded us of his sizeable upside as a forward mover.

Lachlan Gollant
Calder Cannons | Wing
12/09/2001 | 189cm |

Stats: 14 disposals (9 kicks), 3 marks, 3 tackles, 3 inside 50s

Our scouts said:Not a huge disposal game with just the 14, but his defensive work was very impressive. On a number of occasions he put his body on the line when he had to go and protected the ball drop zone, as well as applying shepherds and bumps when required.” – Peter Williams

Verdict: Is another late bloomer having only come into the Calder squad mid-season. Has hardly been a high disposal winner in his six NAB League outings with this week’s haul of 14 his best yet, but Gollant provides a good mix of outside skills and defensive acts on the wing. Obviously has something that club recruiters want to see more of given his state combine invite, so will be one to keep in the memory bank come draft time if he impresses in the athletic tests. Looks a clever type.

Gippsland Power vs. Western Jets

Leo Connolly
Gippsland Power | Defender
7/08/2001 | 180cm | 72kg

Stats: 19 disposals (16 kicks), 3 marks, 3 inside 50s, 2 rebound 50s

Our scouts said:Connolly’s excellent form continued on Saturday as he again took the game on with great intent from the back half… baulking around opponents and cutting through the corridor with dare before generally executing a pinpoint pass.” – Craig Byrnes

Verdict: Has been impressive in the back end of the year after putting in a number of consistent games previously with much of Gippsland’s core absent. Connolly is really starting to shine with his use by foot on either side and is a player who can become a real metres-gained asset from the back half or further afield. He’s silky on the ball and his impact on this game among a stacked Gippsland line-up shows his worth, so keep an eye on the state combine invitee.

Daly Andrews
Western Jets | Midfielder
22/02/2000 | 183cm | 81kg

Stats: 26 disposals, 4 tackles, 5 inside 50s, 2 rebound 50s, 2 goals

Our scouts said:Was one of the best players on the ground, for either side. Starting at the centre bounces, Andrews was dynamic inside and out, providing an early match highlight by kicking a monster goal from outside 50 in the opening minutes.” – Craig Byrnes

Verdict: Capped off a strong over-age year with another great dual-sided performance from midfield. There is no questioning his inside capabilities now after it was queried last season, and Andrews stood up against some pretty stiff Gippsland opposition. He kept Sam Flanders quiet early on while finding his own ball with ease, ensuring he was relevant going both ways. Consistently getting those high numbers will be the next step, but it seems he has admirably done all he can to improve to this point.

Caught the Eye: NAB League Boys – Finals Week 1

THE cream of the crop contributed to an exciting first week of NAB League finals, and while we have a fair idea of who to keep an eye on at this point in the year, players still continue to rise in stocks at the pointy end of the year. In this edition of Caught the Eye, there is a good mix of talls, smalls, and some players who were not necessarily at the forefront of the national carnival. For extended player profiles, click on each name highlighted in red, and for full scouting notes, click here.

Northern Knights vs. Western Jets

Josh D’Intinosante
Northern Knights | Small Forward
7/07/2001 | 177cm | 76kg

Stats: 13 disposals (10 kicks), 2 marks, 2 tackles, 5 goals

Our scouts said:D’Intinosante was a thorn in the side of the Western Jets with his forward craft proving a real handful. His efficiency was impressive considering the windy conditions…” – Ed Pascoe

Verdict: Looks to have found a home up forward and you know the Knights rate him when they create set stoppage plays around getting the ball to him. His nous around goal is outstanding and he has only gone goalless in two games this season, capping off a terrific year with fourth haul of at least four majors. Speed and penetration by foot will be the issue in his position at the next level, but the talent is so clearly there for the bottom-age Knights club champion.

Lucas Failli
Western Jets | Midfielder/Forward
14/09/2002 | 170cm | 70kg

Stats: 14 disposals (10 kicks), 4 tackles, 6 inside 50s, 1 goal

Our scouts said:Although small in stature Failli had a big impact on the game with his work through the midfield really impressing. Usually a goal sneak forward, Failli played well in the midfield often winning the ball at ground level and quickly kicking the ball inside 50.” – Ed Pascoe

Verdict: Features in Caught the Eye for the second time this season and may well do so a fair bit next year too. Has already shown his forward capabilities, which may be his position at the next level, but is impactful through midfield with his speed and booming kick. Can work on accumulation and consistency in his top-age year, but has some real smarts about him already.

Eastern Ranges vs. Sandringham Dragons

Jamieson Rossiter
Eastern Ranges | Forward/Utility
17/11/2001 | 190cm | 84kg

Stats: 10 disposals, 4 marks, 2 tackles, 1 inside 50, 4 goals

Our scouts said:Rossiter was the dominant big man on the ground and has picked a good time of the year to hit some strong form… His best play was a bone crunching tackle in the second quarter, showing he could influence without ball in hand.” – Ed Pascoe

Verdict: It was always going to be interesting to see what position Rossiter developed best in, and it seems we have finally found an answer on the back of his form as a key forward. This was arguably his best game for Eastern to date, using his strong marking and knack for kicking big goals in a performance where he proved a match-winner. Takes his chances and can do some special things on his day, so keeps his name in the hat.

Louis Butler
Sandringham Dragons | Defender
26/08/2001 | 183cm | 74kg

Stats: 26 disposals (22 kicks), 2 marks, 2 tackles, 9 rebound 50s, 1 inside 50

Our scouts said:Butler was the standout defender for his team, winning plenty of the ball and using it very well in the windy conditions… His rebound from defence was fantastic…” – Ed Pascoe

Verdict: Has shown different sides to his game of late in combining his usual damaging rebound with lockdown roles on the opposition’s most dangerous smalls. Butler’s work rate across the back half makes him stand out, and he was back to his target-finding best off half-back in this game. His competitiveness to go with that polish is desirable, adding a dimension to his game in a position that often produces dime-a-dozen prospects.

Calder Cannons vs. Dandenong Stingrays

Daniel Mott
Calder Cannons | Midfielder
1/05/2001 | 183cm | 76kg

Stats: 34 disposals, 7 marks, 3 tackles, 7 inside 50s, 5 rebound 50s, 2 goals

Our scouts said:Mott was one of Calder’s standouts through the midfield, winning the ball with ease on both the inside and outside… His entries inside 50 were dangerous and he was especially dangerous inside 50 himself kicking a classy goal on the run in the last quarter.” – Ed Pascoe

Verdict: This was a massive performance from Mott and his stocks will have risen as a result. Having improved on his contested ball winning, Mott utilised his mix of inside and outside work in midfield as well as he has all year. He seems to have really hit a peak at the right time after slowly developing his roundedness this season, making him an interesting prospect to watch in terms of draft range.

Bigoa Nyuon
Dandenong Stingrays | Ruck/Key Forward
18/05/2001 | 196cm | 86kg

Stats: 14 disposals, 6 marks, 2 tackles, 2 rebound 50s, 5 inside 50s, 15 hitouts, 1 goal

Our scouts said:Nyuon had some good moments in the ruck and forward for the Stingrays… He was able to expose his opponent once the ball hit the ground, spreading to space to create an option forward or get in intercepting positions.” – Craig Byrnes

Verdict: The raw and athletic tall continues to show glimpses of his best form, with enough there to suggest he’ll be an easy choice for St Kilda come draft time as a Next Generation Academy (NGA) member. His combination of aerial ability, ground level cleanliness and winding runs make Nyuon an exciting prospect, with his versatility in the key position posts an admirable trait. He loves a goal and celebration too, and seems a much-loved teammate.

Gippsland Power vs. Oakleigh Chargers

Sam Flanders
Gippsland Power | Midfielder/Forward
24/07/2001 | 182cm | 81kg

Stats: 27 disposals (19 kicks), 7 marks, 7 tackles, 4 inside 50s, 4 goals

Our scouts said:Flanders may have produced the best underage half of footy for the season to date, or at the very least the most dynamic 10 minutes of the year. From the eleventh to the twenty-second minute of the second quarter, Flanders completely took control of the game and at the time it did not look like anything was going to stop him.” – Craig Byrnes

Verdict: This could be the game that cements Flanders’ place in the top five for club recruiters, serving a timely reminder of his dynamism up forward while also continuing his rise through midfield. Flanders’ explosiveness and hands at the coalface are as good as anyone in this year’s crop, with time up forward taking somewhat of a back seat this year. Despite that, could be recruited as a player who starts off playing more as a forward and has bursts through the middle – think Jordan De Goey.

Will Phillips
Oakleigh Chargers | Outside Midfielder
22/05/2002 | 179cm | 78kg

Stats: 29 disposals, 4 tackles, 3 rebound 50s 6 inside 50s, 1 goal

Our scouts said:Phillips was fantastic in Oakleigh’s strong start to the game, seeing the bottom age midfielder show some good clean hands in transition and getting involved in a number of plays going forward.” – Ed Pascoe

Verdict: Will be a leading prospect heading into 2020 having already shown his worth in a stacked Oakleigh line-up. His spread and use by foot on the outside make him a damaging wingman, but look for Phillips to spend more time on the inside next year with a more handball-based game. He is capable of doing both and oozes class with his work in transition, so should feature more than just the once in next year’s national carnival.

Caught the Eye: NAB League Boys – Wildcard Round

WHILE the wildcards lacked from a team sense, there were plenty of exciting players to have raised their stocks this week in the NAB League Boys Wildcard Round. In this edition of Caught the Eye, we shed light on some of the key performers for some sides, as well as others who showed glimpses of form. For full scouting notes, click here, and for extended profiles for each player, click their name highlighted in red.

Sandringham Dragons vs. Geelong Falcons

Ryan Byrnes
Sandringham Dragons | Midfielder
3/05/2001 | 181cm | 80kg

Stats: 28 disposals, 4 marks, 5 tackles, 7 inside 50s, 3 rebound 50s, 1 goal

Our scouts said:Best afield for mine, Byrnes was sensational on the breakaway from congestion – utilising his zippy first five steps and agility to latch onto the first handball away from stoppages and burst free.” – Michael Alvaro

Verdict: Was back to his best in this game and looks to really be benefitting from being able to share the stoppage workload with a couple of bigger-bodied midfielders. With the likes of Finn Maginness and Darcy Chirgwin in the side, expect to see more of Byrnes breaking the lines and providing that burst away from congestion. He works tirelessly around the ground too, so will be important in finals with his consistency.

Cameron Fleeton
Geelong Falcons | Key Defender
17/06/2002 | 189cm | 76kg

Stats: 7 disposals, 3 marks, 2 tackles, 2 rebound 50s

Our scouts said:Fleeton was as sure as anyone by foot, switching confidently across defensive 50 to try and set the Falcons on the right foot… Also contributed some second efforts with the result beyond doubt, showing heart on a rough day.” – Michael Alvaro

Verdict: It was tough going for the bottom-aged defender and while he was beaten at times, Fleeton showed enough to suggest he will certainly be one to watch heading into next year. He only had the seven touches, but looked great with each of them; taking brave marks going back with the flight, reading the play well, and kicking with confidence. Will benefit over time from building a bigger frame and getting some help further afield.

Northern Knights vs. Bendigo Pioneers

Sam Philp
Northern Knights | Inside Midfielder
4/08/2001 | 185cm | 80kg

Stats: 23 disposals, 3 marks, 6 tackles, 5 inside 50s, 1 goal

Our scouts said:Was crucial to Northern’s turnaround… hunting the ball in midfield and providing some aggressive run away from congestion. He worked tirelessly to break the game open with his ability to burst clear of would-be tacklers.” – Michael Alvaro

Verdict: Is a draft bolter, but it comes on the back of a bed of consistency. Philp has sprung on the radar with his constant ball winning throughout the middle part of the year while a number of others were out on representative duty, but has continued his feats with them back, too. Earned a well-deserved National Combine invite and will be one to keep tabs on as Northern look to make a finals run.

Thomson Dow
Bendigo Pioneers | Midfielder
16/10/2001 | 183cm | 72kg

Stats: 23 disposals, 2 marks, 5 tackles, 7 inside 50s

Our scouts said:Dow was the key ball winner for Bendigo in midfield against some pretty stiff inside competition, hunting the ball and exploding away from congestion to clear going inside 50.” – Michael Alvaro

Verdict: Has well and truly broken out of the shadow of his brother, Paddy with a good base of form throughout the year. The difference he made for the Pioneers was obvious across the few games he played for them at either end of the season, injecting some class and power into the engine room. Will be an interesting one to watch as he develops with his ability to break from congestion and forward running both great assets, and he led well with Brodie Kemp out of the team this week.

Calder Cannons vs. Tasmania Devils

Sam Ramsay
Calder Cannons | Midfielder
21/03/2001 | 180cm | 68kg

Stats: 33 disposals, 11 marks, 2 tackles, 2 inside 50s, 1 goal

Our scouts said:Showed some good dash along the wing and was not afraid to take the contest on and try and break lines. After a relatively quiet first half Ramsay really lifted a gear in the second half to drag his team back into the contest.” – Taylah Melki

Verdict: Ramsay caught our eye long ago but gets the nod here after yet another prolific performance for the Cannons in midfield. His work going both ways at the contest has been admirable of late, tackling hard while also breaking the lines with his speed and racking left foot kicks. Has the ability to break games open and just attracts the ball, with his form too hard to ignore for clubs who noticed enough for him to earn a state combine invite.

Matt McGuinness
Tasmania Devils | Utility
13/07/2000 | 194cm | 77kg

Stats: 25 disposals, 5 marks, 3 inside 50s, 9 rebound 50s, 1 goal

Our scouts said:Was in absolutely everything for the Devils for the full four quarters. He read the flight of the ball well and impacted the contest on every opportunity possible.” – Taylah Melki

Verdict: Another who has been thereabouts for a while on top of the promise he showed last year as a top-ager, McGuinness just keeps on getting the job done. He has shown good tendencies when working up the ground of late and his booming kick means he is able to hit the scoreboard on top of his defensive duties. McGuinness has become more than a player who steps up in little purple patches, but still has those spurts of dominance with his impact on the aerial contests.

Western Jets vs. GWV Rebels

Lucas Rocci
Western Jets | Half-Back
27/02/2001 | 175cm | 72kg

Stats: 19 disposals, 2 marks, 9 tackles, 2 inside 50s, 6 rebound 50s

Our scouts said:The Morrish Medalist had a well rounded performance showing a good mix of attacking flair and defensive nous. Rocci often used his nice left boot to his advantage finding targets both long and short with ease.” – Ed Pascoe

Verdict: Capped off a pretty handy Sunday by taking out the Morrish Medal, which was rightful recognition for an outstanding season for Rocci, who became a rare player to get the nod despite missing out on both representative duties and combine invites. His mix of attacking and defensive traits from half-back were again on show and he looks to have found a home there after some early-season struggles in different positions. Is coming from a long way back but has potential.

Jay Rantall
GWV Rebels | Midfielder
10/06/2001 | 184cm | 82kg

Stats: 19 disposals, 7 tackles, 2 inside 50s, 1 goal

Our scouts said:Looked to carry most of the midfield load for the Rebels with the Jets having the advantage in the middle through most of the day. Rantall would still show his great work rate and ability to work up and down the ground.” – Ed Pascoe

Verdict: Made somewhat slow starts over the last fortnight given his lofty standards, handing over some of the midfield responsibility to a few under-age movers but remaining a leader. It wasn’t Rantall’s biggest day out, but he still showed his class and will get the chance to really showcase his athletic abilities at the National Combine given his NAB League season is now over. Midfielders with that mix of speed and endurance are highly sought-after and Rantall definitely has it, but is still working on his fundamental skills.

Dandenong Stingrays vs. Murray Bushrangers

Clayton Gay
Dandenong Stingrays | Forward
23/03/2002 | 183cm | 71kg

Stats: 15 disposals, 5 marks, 3 tackles, 6 inside 50s, 2 goals

Our scouts said:Dandenong had a threatening forward line and Gay was certainly one of their more influential forwards, especially in the second half with his marking ability and class really standing out.” – Ed Pascoe

Verdict: A player who can play just about anywhere, Gay is so damaging at his best. The bottom-ager finds the goals well and uses his strong marking abilities to become an option inside 50, while also providing good use into the arc. Is seldom a big ball winner, but it will be interesting to see whether he moves more into the midfield in his top age season next year. The Stingrays will look to him when they need a spark come finals up either end of the ground.

Dominic Bedendo
Murray Bushrangers | Forward
9/07/2002 | 185cm | 67kg

Stats: 7 disposals, 3 marks, 2 goals

Our scouts said:The small samples he shows make him an exciting forward prospect for next year’s draft… didn’t get a a lot of the ball but he showed his potential with some great leaps and slick hands when taking possession.” – Ed Pascoe

Verdict: It wasn’t a huge game from the bottom-ager on the weekend but he still has a happy knack of finding the goals, with two majors from seven touches this time out. He has a ways to go in terms of filling out and will be an even more likely type with the size to go with his 185cm height. His athletic traits also make him one to watch, with Murray boasting some decent talent forward of the ball for the next two years.